Constitutional Corner: What is the process for granting an agent power of attorney for a minor?

Cuthpert
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By Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr. | Rockdale Probate Judge

In 2018, the Georgia Legislature enacted legislation entitled the Strengthening Families Act. Pursuant to this Act, by executing a Power of Attorney for Temporary Delegation of Caregiving Authority to an Agent (“power of attorney”), a parent of a minor child may place the child with a grandparent, great-grandparent, stepparent or former stepparent, step-grandparent, aunt or uncle, great aunt or uncle, cousin, sibling, or a nonrelative who is approved as an agent by a child-placing agency or a non-profit entity or faith-based organization. If the parents are not married, the non-custodial parent must also consent to the power of attorney. If it is not consented to by both parents, the power of attorney will be ineffective. The agent must be an adult who resides in Georgia and each parties’ signatures must be notarized.

The power of attorney must include language stating that it is being executed due to: (a) death, serious illness, or terminal illness of a parent; (b) the physical or mental condition of the parent or the child is such that the proper care and supervision of the child cannot be provided by the parent; (c) the loss or uninhabitability of the child’s home as a result of a natural disaster; (d) the incarceration of a parent; or (e) a period of active military duty of a parent.

The power of attorney may be used to grant an agent powers over the minor child’s enrollment in school and extracurricular activities, as well as access to school, medical, dental, and mental health records. The agent may also make decisions regarding food, lodging, recreation and travel for the minor, and any additional powers as specified by the parent. However, the power of attorney may be limited to exclude any powers not intended to be relinquished by the parent as well.

The Probate Court does not bear any responsibility for enforcing the power of attorney. However, the party executing it must file a copy with the probate court in the county where the minor resides within 10 days of its execution, and the Court is required to keep a docket of the same. A suggested format for the power of attorney can be found at O.C.G.A. § 19-9-134.

The information included herein is only intended to provide a basic understanding of the Power of Attorney for Delegation of Caregiving Authority to an Agent. This information is not all inclusive and should not be used as or considered to be legal advice.

Throughout each month, the clerk of courts, tax commissioner, sheriff and probate judge—Rockdale’s elected constitutional officers—discuss topics relevant to their respective roles.

 

 

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